Scalp psoriasis is a skin condition that causes reddish, scaly patches on the scalp that sometimes spread to the face and neck. A number of patches may be produced on the scalp or may spread over the scalp completely. This type of psoriasis is very common and most of the people who have scalp psoriasis also have other types of this skin condition along with it. This skin condition may range from mild to very severe and affect the appearance of the scalp. In severe conditions, the scalp may have thick patches that may crust. This is often associated with itching which may affect sleep and other day-to-day activities. Moreover, it can affect the self-confidence of a person considerably.
The actual cause of this skin condition is not fully known. In most cases, the immune system becomes hyperactive and results in the crusted patches on the scalp. Mild forms of scalp psoriasis are characterized by the production of thin, fine scales from the scalp.
When the condition is severe, the symptoms may include:
- Silvery white colored scales
- Reddish crusts
- Severe itching
- Dryness of the scalp
- Loss of hair
Hair loss may not be directly related to this skin condition. However, people with this condition often resort to scratching the scalp and undergoing harsh treatments that may cause considerable hair loss.
Dermatologists may recommend topical treatment for controlling the scaling and plaques. The most common measures used are medicated creams, gels, shampoos, and ointments. Products available over-the-counter are generally of lower strength. If the condition is not cleared by these, doctors may suggest prescription medications. Salicylic acid and coal tar are two most commonly used treatment for this skin problem. Antimicrobials, topical steroids and calcipotriene (derivative of vitamin D) are also used in the treatment of scalp psoriasis.
The most important point to be taken care of in the treatment of this condition is that all topical applications should be used on the scalp rather than hair. One should take care to follow the directions given by the doctor or those given in the product label for it to be effective. If the above said treatment options are not working, phototherapy and ultraviolet comb may be suggested. Focusing high intensity light on to the affected area helps to control scaling.